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Whee! I finally did my first 'cross race!(1 post)

Whee! I finally did my first 'cross race!GlowBoy
Nov 17, 2002 9:40 PM
Well, that was fun.

It finally started raining and the Portland 'cross courses have finally gotten muddy, just in time for me to do my first race. I did it singlespeed, and I've already posted a partial writeup and a couple pics over on the singlespeed board:

More thoughts ...

Really cool group of people. Of course I was in the beginner category, but no one was pushy or a55holeish in any way. It seemed that while everyone was definitely competitive, it was very friendly competition and having fun out in the mud was a higher priority for almost everyone than winning. Great, great vibe out there.

I did finish towards the back (but hey at least I wasn't last!) And in between there's a lot of back-and-forth, often leapfrogging the same people over and over. Even though a third to half of the field of 50-60 beginners were riding mountain bikes, I can give my 'cross bike credit for a lot of the times I did blast by other riders. The low center of gravity (augmented by my short, stocky physique!) allowed me to take the tight 180 degree turns much faster than most of the MTB riders. And even though I was running singlespeed I often pulled ahead on the pavement stretches (again augmented by my weight on the downhill parts, and by my great - uh - aerodynamics ;-) ). I'm sure overall my physique is a disadvantage on the course, but it's nice to see the situations where it actually works in my favor!

Another advantage of the 'cross bike: it feels a lot more ultimately stable in dicey situations than my mountain bike or others I've ridden. I've noticed this on trail rides too, but it was really striking today. I used to think maybe it was something about the geometry, but I don't think that's it ... the 'crosser has a steeper head angle, same fork rake and only slightly longer wheelbase than my mountain bike. I'm starting to think it's the gyroscopic effect of the bigger wheels. Although it definitely feels twitchier and wanders around a lot more than the mountain bike, when push comes to slide this bike just wants to stay upright. Even though I spent a lot of time in two-wheel skids today, I only went down (while riding) once. I would have fallen over MANY times (and still been slower) on my mountain bike.

Anyway, my random thoughts. Lots of fun, and I'll definitely be doing this again!

- Dan